mesopotamian farming

At the beginning of this semester, I asked my students to complete a simple homework assignment:  “Pretend you’re a Mesopotamian farmer. Describe your environment – where you live, how you work, your methods of agriculture, the foods you produce, etc.”

I was expecting very little – this was, after all, the very first assignment in their history class, and some of these kids were fresh off high school.  Most of them were accurate, but mundane… all except this one.  I gave this kid 5 points of extra credit because this was so good.

Ready?

“Hello there!

My family (parents, wife and two sons) and I, with our possessions, just moved into the local area about 300 suns ago, and we’ve been getting along great with the city folk as well as our farmer neighbors!

You must be wondering where exactly my farm is located. Glad you asked! We’re about half a sun away from the city center, in an area between two large rivers that flow into a huge river.

(Remember Bob, who was sold into slavery many suns ago for not donating 20 bushels of millet to the Sumer Priests’ Temple Fund? We were able to get his old farm!)

Now I was somewhat apprehensive about moving to Sumer, but it’s been great! Being able to divert portions of the two large rivers’ water to irrigate our crops (the silt also seems to help) has led to increased millet and date palm production. If I may say so, it’ll be one heck of a harvest soon.

The local city is full of amenities, too. I just bought the new wheeled bronze plow from the S-Mart and, with my ox in the lead, it works great for plowing. I bought the 25-sun warranty plan, but don’t say anything to my family – they thought it would be a wasted of millet bushels.

Speaking of my ox, I want to take this opportunity to invite everyone to the next farmer’s market in five suns. We’ll be bringing fresh chicken eggs and my wife’s famous goat cheese!”

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